[Classic] The unacceptable state of Classic servers

Server and faction balance aside, this should never happen in 2022:

Third day of pre-patch and we are still facing a queue 2 hours long.
This kind of unplayability would have had me fired from my job as an online developer.

I cannot comment on the technology Blizzard uses, but I can tell from this situation that it is either old technology that needs replacing or lack of expertise in online development or, worse, leaving it this bad on purpose to save pocket change.
Why does WoW, one of the biggest online game in history, not have scaling servers?
This isn’t a matter of layering, this is literally just either poor management of your hardware or you are purposely not using software technology meant for scalability.

This will just make WotLK launch bad.
And I don’t want this excuse of blaming the players for stacking on one server. The solution isn’t Character Migration, it’s not up to the players to fix your problems.
Even if the entirety of all classic players were all on the same server, your technology should be able to handle this kind of scalability.

I can understand issues for 1 day, I can understand when it’s DoS attacks, I cannot understand 3 days of this from normal user activity.

269 Likes

What’s truly unfortunate is going from a server that wasn’t this bad, to a server that is. It leaves you with so many questions.

Do we just leave our friends and guilds? Do we leave the “community” that classic was so expected to be? The answer is no. We’re offered “free migrations” to realms with dead economies and no player-base.

Retail has solved with record expansion launch #'s, the issue, so why hasn’t classic? Servers were allowed to get to this state by Blizzard. Seeing mass transfers to servers and creations, leaving people who started on these realms left w/ the state and the only option is to spend money to LEAVE your community and friends behind to a dead server and hope you can convince all the people you play with to do it as well.

Right now I sit in a 344 minute que. The whole mentality of free migrations doesn’t work on a scale this big. I worry greatly for the WOTLK launch if this is just a prepatch. There’s ques up to 2-3 hours on average even in downtime. The only time I’ve noticed no ques was 2am-10am on work days.

55 Likes

This is- from Blizzard’s perspective, I am sure- a ‘player made’ issue. But can you blame them?

  1. Free xfers were not a thing for a while, leaving people to pay to get off of their server (which was sometimes not quite dead, but yes, usually actually dead.)
  2. This felt terrible, to pay for a game we already pay monthly for, to then pay our sub for that month + $25 per character to get off of a realm.
  3. Destination realms pre free-xfer were deterministic mostly on population size; not only were people probably leaving realms because of them being low(er) pop, but where people wanted to xfer to needed to be large in pop as to not necessitate a second (third…fourth…) paid xfer when or if that larger-but-not-large-enough server died off.

Why would people take the free xfers offered now? To have point #3 happen, to have to pay again when those servers decline in population enough to make recruiting impossible? To be clear, realms with ~1500 pop or higher aren’t dead. They’re just low pop.

Following that logic, the only remotely acceptable server (of only two options) is Sulfuras (~1k pop), which is nearly entirely Horde. If you’re Alliance, all you’ve got is Old Blanchy with ~350 pop, half of which are Alliance. Good luck convincing anyone to move to either of those realms, unless you’re feeling very brazen as Horde and also manage to convince your entire guild to come with you.

WoWProgress and IronforgePro both use the same data-trawling method of skimming through WCL to see how many characters have a log in a raid or PvP on that server, that week. Keep in mind that even though this will count alts as different unique players, it’s also, of course, only a portion of a server’s active players.

Area 52 is the largest retail server with nearly 25k pop. Benediction has just over 18k. There are four, nearly five, servers on retail that match or beat Benediction’s population. I have a character on A52 and cannot remember the last time I had a queue. Maybe a 30 minute one the day of an expansion release?

What gives? Why is Blizzard so insistent on not having the first ‘M’ in ‘MMO’ in Classic? Punishing players when they moved to these servers- when in most cases, they felt they had little to no choice to- is absolute insanity to me.

The players have shown over and over that they want to play on large servers because of the security it provides when it comes to our wallets. This mostly stems from an established lack of trust for population and faction balancing and moderation. It’s why we continue to wait in queues. I got in the queue today at 3:30pm for my 9pm raid, and I won’t make it into raid in time. But I still wait. We’re still waiting. People will be logged in for however long they need to to avoid the, probably no joke, days long queue for Wrath.
(It’s also wild to me that there isn’t a way to play retail if we wanted to, while being in six hour queues.)

Can you blame us?

81 Likes

I decided to do something I’ve never done. I completely rerolled on a Fresh server… and it was a PvP server (which I’ve rarely played on).

And you know what? I was actually enjoying myself a bit. Until this weekend, when the 3 hour queues popped up on Skyfury (for almost 8,000 people in queue). And tonight, I get home from work wanting to level a bit and am met with a 2 hour queue for 5500 people.

This is really a turn-off and made me not want to play. So I shut it down and did some other things. Tried again a bit later (big mistake) and 2.5 hour queue for 6000 people

They really need to increase server capacity substantially and just let the layering system solve the problem. At this point I don’t even know if I will be 70 before Wrath launch (currently 47) because I have a day job and am not a streamer that can sit here and play 16 hours a day 7 days a week.

50 Likes

This is the state of Grobbulus at peak times. That is almost a 6 hour queue time to log into the game.

For someone working regular business hours, coming home and getting ready to play after dinner time… you will not be logged in until midnight or 1 AM. That is simply not sustainable. Obviously with pre-patch and launch around the corner, there are more people jumping in or back to Classic and things will die down in later phases, but this should still be addressed.

Asking people to leave their home realms should not be the only solution. I appreciate the free migrations and I’m happy for the people content with making the decision to take them. However, sense of community and server pride is what made Classic so special. Giving up that home and community should not be the only alternative to long queue times.

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I think being unable to experience a PvP server due to server management is a huge injustice to those trying WOTLK for the first time.

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Hi All,

First off, thank you for the comments. I understand this is an incredibly frustrating time if you happen to be playing on one of these heavily impacted realms. I sincerely and personally apologize for the situation on these mega-realms. Please do know that this is the top issue on our minds right now and we are actively working on solutions for the specific realms that are full right now.

Reading forums, reddit threads, Twitter comments, etc., one thing that struck me is the sheer amount of misinformation or misunderstanding floating around, so I am going to try and explain as best I can what we are doing now, where we are going, the state and nature of the problems, and to provide a factual look at the actual state of realms that aren’t full right now. Please bear with me, as this is going to be a very long post.

We have disabled new character creation and incoming paid transfers to the US and EU mega-realms, and they will remain locked indefinitely.

This was a difficult choice that we feel is very heavy-handed. By doing this, we will cut off opportunities for new and returning players to join their friends on these large realms, possibly for many months. However, the situation on these realms is completely untenable, and even if we can eliminate queues in the short term, this is going to continue to be a problem when new content releases as long as mega-realms exist. As a result, we’ve made the choice to effectively close US and EU mega-realms to new and additional incoming players indefinitely. We will also be monitoring our other realms and will take similar steps if they begin to inch into mega-realm territory in the future, and we may do so with little to no warning. We’ve been hesitant to this because we really dislike restricting player movements and potentially breaking up social circles, but that ethos is no longer compatible with the reality we find ourselves in.

Free transfers have been very successful so far, but we need more folks to move.

I want to express a very sincere and heartfelt thanks to those that took the plunge and moved from one of these huge realms to FCM destinations such as Sulfuras-US and Mograine-EU. I’ve seen countless success stories affirming that moving to one of these realms has been a positive experience. These anecdotes were not surprising to us in the slightest, because we know that almost every realm in service right now is a perfectly vibrant and viable place to play. Both of these destination realms are now extremely healthy if not nearly full at certain peak times. If you are considering moving to one of these locations, I advise doing so soon before they too become full, as we will endeavor to end transfers before we allow them to queue, and we may do so suddenly and without warning.

For a bit more specifics around these destination realms’ health, let’s take a look at Sulfuras- US. Prior to last week, this realm had low concurrency at around ½ to 1/3 the size of a 2008 realm. In the past week, this realm has seen almost 40,000 incoming transfers, with hundreds more still occurring per hour. These incoming transfers have made this a very robust and in fact nearly full realm that is now right around 4 times the size of a full 2008 realm.

The fact is, however, this isn’t enough on its own to fix the situation on realms such as Benediction and Faerlina. Now that Sulfuras and Mograine are starting to trend upwards towards filling up themselves, we need to look to other solutions and potential destinations. As a result, we’ve implemented a new FCM solution specifically targeted at Benediction, Faerlina, and Grobbulus in the US (for now; we haven’t forgotten about EU). You can read about this new FCM destination realm, Eranikus; here. As Sulfuras has proven, Free Character Moves can and do result in a positive play experience on the destination realm. We still have far more than enough players stuck in queue on these few mega-realms that we could easily fill multiple other Sulfuras-level realms if players take the next rounds of FCMs that we make available. We again strongly encourage you to take available FCMs especially if you want to jump in and join Sulfuras and Mograine in particular, as we will be ending the transfers to Sulfuras very soon, and we may need to do something similar for Mograine as well in the coming days and weeks.

The Mega-Realms in US and EU are full (also; Layers are not the solution)

We’ll start with the easiest and most clearcut statement to make. The mega-realms in US and EU that are queuing are completely full. This statement is the absolute state of things, and there is no additional capacity we can add to these realms to allow more players on, or to reduce queues.

One common suggestion we get is to “just add more layers”, and it’s very important to understand that layers do not add in any way to capacity. Layers are a Classic-specific solution to alleviate congestion in the game world in densely populated areas. The way they work is that when a certain threshold of players congregates in a small area in the game (say, in Blackrock Mountain) the service will spin up another entire copy of the game world to try to load-balance any new players that log in. This is to prevent a situation where large numbers of players congregating, casting spells, sending server messages and updates to one another causes a severe degradation of the entire service/game world. This functions in some contrast to the “sharding” system that modern World of Warcraft uses which basically does the same thing but spins up additional shards on a per-zone or per-area basis.

Neither of these systems increase realm capacity. Realm capacity is dictated by the total number of connections that the service itself can handle. Every time a player connects to a realm, that connection interacts with numerous services, systems, and adds to the total load on the persistent database that the entire game relies upon to fetch data related to players, spells, quests, creatures, Auctions, etc. When that total number of connections to a realm’s DB and services reaches a certain number, the service will degrade or fail on multiple levels, leading to symptoms like severe Auction House lag or outages, Chat performance degradation, or lag when attempting to loot items. Never in wow’s history had the capacity of realms been as high as they are now, and even with our modern capacity we can still sometimes experience performance degradation when the realms are full and DB load is at its peak.

So put as plainly as possible, we cannot increase capacity any more without inviting additional and likely cascading failures to the service. At present, the best and only way to resolve this issue for the impacted realms, is for people to leave the realm via free transfers. There’s no technology solution to this. There is no hardware solution to this. This situation will not improve when Wrath of the Lich King Classic launches on September 26th, it will only get worse.

A glimpse at other realms, in relative terms

This post is already long, but on the topic of “viable” realm options, I also really wanted to take some time to dispel some outright falsehoods about the viability of realms that are not mega-realms. I’d like to paint a picture of how large some of these realms are relative to a 2008 realm that would have been considered completely full:

US Concurrency relative to full 2008 realm
Sulfuras 4x
Atiesh 2.5x
Windseeker 2x
Ashkandi 2x
Westfall 2x
EU
Everlook 3x
Giantstalker 2.5x
Auberdine 2.5x
Sulfuron 2.5x
Mirage Raceway 2x
Earthshaker 2x
Razorfen 2x

I wish I could share exact numbers with you but suffice it to say: the realms above have a peak concurrent population ranging from several thousand to well over ten thousand players each day.

These realms are not queuing now (many have never queued), have healthy and robust economies, and enjoy hundreds of groups forming for dungeons and raids per day. These realms would have been full-to-bursting based on realm caps that we had in place even as recently as 2014 in modern WoW. The narrative that these huge mega-realms are the only “viable” place to play is just untrue, and we want to do everything we can to drive home the absolute fact that these are great places to play. Any “demographic” data available on third party websites should not be used as a basis for a decision around where to play.

Closing thoughts

Overall, realm health and management has been the most challenging aspect of managing WoW Classic. When these mega-realms started to emerge last year, we were concerned about their impact, but we were very hesitant to take heavy-handed action for fear of breaking up friend groups and restricting player freedom. At this point however, we believe the time has come to end the concept of a mega-realm. We hope that with your help and willingness to consider the current and future transfers we are going to offer, we can maintain a lively, vibrant community across all realms without the need for queues or increasingly heavy-handed actions.

144 Likes
Transferred to a dead server!
Ridiculous
Transfer Restrictions and Free Character Transfers Now Available -- Updated Nov. 22
Brian, thank you!
Server Queues and Server Balance
Please stop lying to the community about why you can't increase server size
Aggrend blue post does not address the main player concern
Blizzard comments on Queues
Pushing the Limits of Technology
Sulfuras growth hype is real
Two Benedictions
"just transfer" discussion
To all Returning Players complaining about queue
"Full" but Dead Servers: Whitemane, Pagle
I was trying Wotlk classic for the new promotion mount
What the blue post was in truth
All you computer and coding wizards, is blizzard right?
Mega Servers
Revert the layer changes ASAP
Blizzard's answer to congestion is really tiring
Blizzard's answer to congestion is really tiring
Unable to Restore Accidentally Deleted Character
UNLOCK THE REALMS! Can't join friends on boosted account
Possible queue solution?
The Degenerative Remote Login Problem
The Degenerative Remote Login Problem
Add more layers to big Servers?
You are FORCED to watch your queue timer
Brian, thank you!
Server Queue Times: Not real since 2014
This Queue Time is Pathetic Blizz
Interconnected Megaserver Branches(IMBs)
No Benediction Queue for 4 days
Pushing the Limits of Technology
Server Issues Convo With a GM
Please Unlock Grobb
Yo Blizzard, add like 5 extra layers per server for 5 days
Yo Blizzard, add like 5 extra layers per server for 5 days
Devs gone radio silent since WOTLK launch?
Devs gone radio silent since WOTLK launch?
Address your players
As a Community, we do not want RDF
Queue times restricting play, creating even more problems
Queue times restricting play, creating even more problems
Blizzard won't let me play with my friends
As a Community, we do not want RDF
Shard Bene like you did Sargeras
Ticket response
Stuck on dead server.. on the verge of quitting
Blizzard forgot to unlock Benediction
Unlock Benediction and Faerlina when?

Unfortunately, I don’t feel that this resolves the problem. As a guild leader of a guild on Faerlina, its incredibly difficult to even consider the topic of transferring.

We moved to Faerlina from Skeram when Skeram died off once already, and the point of going to a large megaserver was to avoid having to risk that situation again. Megaservers offer something that is innately unique; the ability to raid with multiple groups, on different characters.

Many of our guild members are regulars in GDKP’s, or even raid in scheduled guild raids, with other guilds. They have communities outside of our own. If I, as a guild leader, were to decide to broach the subject of moving servers, it would require all of those other connected communities to be considering the same, which in a chain-reaction, would need their various members in other guilds to do the same. People do not want to be forced to abandon a raid team or guild that they have been part of for months simply because their other raid team wants to move; and no guild will put its community into that situation.

Keeping characters on two servers, while possible, is terribly inefficient and results in economic issues; as now you have to generate/spend gold in two separate locations, and you can’t use resources you gain effectively.

I fully understand that this is a very complicated problem, but the solution to simply ignore it and hope that the player friction becomes enough that people move is not really viable. The friction required to force movement for many players at this point is too high.

Once you also consider the circumstances that could go wrong in a transfer, it immediately makes it an even worse option. The announcement that transfers could be closed without much notice simply could say “we may cut you off from those in your guild that got off work late and missed the transfer”. Locking character creation tells us “you can’t play with your new girlfriend on this server”, and leaving the solution up to only the players rapidly feels like Blizzard doesn’t understand why these issues exist in the first place.

The solution is to offer SAFER options to transfer.

Ways to Transfer that are either temporary, bulk, or otherwise provide less risk. If there was an option to transfer to Eranikus, with a guarantee that after 4 weeks we automatically transfer back to Faerlina, then that becomes much easier to accept. It may not solve the issue permanently, but it might kick the can down the road enough to let the surge of new players spread out or the concurrent logins to evenly distribute.

Any solution has to quell the concern and fear of players that are at risk losing access to their friend groups and communities that have been built over the past 3 years. Anything that does less will not work.

What would it take to make me leave?

I asked other guild leaders in the Faerlina Discord what it would take to make them able to consider the prospect of transferring, and I’ll be cataloguing some of their responses below in hopes to give a direct line of communication from guild leaders (and the decisionmakers of large transfers) to the developers on what is required to make this work.

Expanse - Bagzli : “The ability to come back seamlessly if things don’t work out on that server. and also gold cap would have to be raised if transfers are to happen”
Disorder - Minamus : " the population decline was noticeable even at phase 2 in TBC, we just suffered through until we didn’t have a choice hoping free transfers would happen and they didn’t. The same thing will happen. There will be a lull in content and people will quit or begin to raid log and people will want to go to a populated server. I don’t want to transfer out of a mega server to another just for it to die again and force my raiders to once again transfer and go through the headache of moving gold, change their name, etc. its a huge headache."
Triad - Churm : “If the target is the new or returning player I think if they added an icon on the launcher that says “Save our servers and take the free character migration option, upon transferring off the server you will receive, Eranikus, our new unique companion” or some incentive a lot of returning players may be more likely to take it.”
non-gm - Waju - “Your post is spot on to how our guild feels about free transfers. We just don’t see how servers filled with players with no social ties to the game are gonna have any longevity”
Sleepless - Palydan : “I came from Kromcrush and we paid to go to a server that wouldn’t just die off. There needs to be a guarantee of a transfer back after a period of time and they need to make the transition easier for the entire guild to opt into and transfer intact instead of making us do all the setup over again to fix their issues.”
Wagyu Beef - Sariae : “My worry, and I’m sure many here agree, is the fact that there is no guarantee or way to look into the future to see if that new server that we transfer into (should we choose to do so) actually succeeds. What is stopping it from dying like Earthfury? The mega servers pretty much are a given that they will not dry out. That, and everything that entails, is what’s keeping people here.”

Edits

edit 1: perhaps a new server that is only for transfers, that will shut down after a month and return people to their origin; that way nobody on that server currently risks being left behind? Just spitballing ideas that might work. Something where the health of the server isn’t a question, but an assurance.

246 Likes

Community is a huge part of Classic and as someone who calls Grobbulus home, it will be hard to re-create that feeling anywhere else. It’s not just simply about logging in and playing the game (obviously that matters), but it’s about the community and place I call home. I don’t have any hard data to back this up, but I think it’s safe to assume Grobbulus is probably the largest RP-PvP server in all of Classic across both regions. It is unique. If I wanted just another PvP server, I have options. If I wanted just another RP/PvE server, I have options. Grobbulus is unique in what it offers. It’s also, at least according to 3rd party data (that I know we can’t always trust) one of the few remaining balanced PvP servers with a near 50/50 Horde to Alliance ratio - again, something very important for RP-PvP. It offers something unique to both RPers and PvPers alike. A truly unique home.

Even if another RP-PvP server was to be created, that would only solve the short term problem of queues but would create long term problems of essentially separating and dividing such a large and thriving community. The long term damage of that cannot be undone so easily.

I understand the difficulty the Engineering team must be facing with this and as you mentioned, none of the decisions are easy to make so I appreciate you guys giving us insight into the thought process, reasoning and technical limitations. However, as someone with a strong connection to my realm, my community and my WoW Classic home… I simply cannot justify leaving it in hopes to try and re-create that experience somewhere else. I understand this may come across as stubborn, but as I explained above Grobbulus is very unique and it’s a nearly impossible situation to walk away from.

73 Likes

I totally understand that concern. I’d posit that these moves and consolidations are less aimed at you, and your very well established social circle, at least not at first. This is aimed more at those who are maybe less attached and are merely following the crowd when deciding where to play, or are returning after a long absence and have found their previous friend groups have moved on.

How many threads have we seen where someone says “Just returning to the game. what server is good for Alliance in NA?” and are told “Benediction”. That’s the group we’d like to take the moves first to help with the situation right now. Long term however, we do want to take much more deliberate steps to reduce the chances of this happening again, and we unfortunately need to be a bit heavy handed going forward to prevent any tailspins that inadvertently create other bigger problems down the road. It’s going to take us some time to realize the full scope of what we need to do to correct this, but for now, our best option is to continue with very tightly monitored and targeted FCMs (including potentially faction-locked FCMs, as Kaivax alluded to in another post here) to alleviate the immediate pressure.

I also just want to reiterate this point though; we’ve raised population caps to accommodate mega-realms to the absolute limit of current technology. I’ve seen a lot of armchair server engineers say things like “just add more hardware”, and I can’t stress it or put it any more plainly, the technology to allow more than we have on realms now does not exist. We’ve added the hardware, we’ve optimized as much as we can optimize, and the current demand on these few realms is just too much. Continuing to push our luck and find ways to reach ever higher realm caps has hit a point where we can’t go any further, and eventually something had to give. That something has given and we are going to be taking different approaches to this problem going forward.

The scenario that led us to the situation you described above was a by-product of past us spinning up tons of new realms rapidly to deal with a level of demand that was orders of magnitude beyond anyone’s wildest expectations when we first launched Classic in 2019. Now that we have consolidated down to a nominal amount of realms, we believe we have the right number of realms to support the number of players we expect and then some, without any realms feeling empty.

But again, I understand completely if you feel a pull towards your realm. The scenarios you describe with multiple raid groups full of folks who may raid in multiple teams or with multiple guilds is a very real situation and that’s hard to visualize breaking away from. If that isn’t you though, and if you aren’t completely tied down to these realms, take the FCMs. Please, take the FCMs. Sulfuras is a success story and we believe Eranikus will be as well.

We’ll be talking more about populations on Eranikus and how things are going as time goes by, so please stay tuned as that situation develops in the coming days.

32 Likes

Based on this response, Am I correct in understanding that Blizzard’s current stance seems to be that established guilds are unlikely to transfer, and they are relying on unestablished players to transfer to make up the difference. If the stance is that returning players will fill these new servers, it makes it even less likely for established players to risk them; Returning players have already shown they are less likely to stick around long-term on average, and when you build a server with the majority of the population with players that have historically left the game after a period of time, that server is likely seen as volatile.

I simply worry that won’t be enough movement without guild participation. In the Faerlina GM discord, pretty much everyone seems resolute that they don’t want to move as they are too entangled, or too worried about long term stability; and I believe there are too many raiders and guilds established on Faerlina to be able to reduce the population to a tenable level without the participation of guilds. Simply put, there needs to be a defined plan and roadmap to ensure the long-term health of servers that are open for transfers or players will not want to shoulder the risk.

I’ll be continuing to edit in GM responses of their current stance on transfers in my post above, as I hope we can continue the discussion and find a middle ground that allows even slightly entangled guilds to be more willing to migrate.

59 Likes

I also want to ask if you have considered free faction transfers as well as character migrations to help these FCM realms (especially the PvP ones) maintain a healthy balance of 50/50?

Limiting which faction can transfer helps, but there might also be guilds/players willing to swap factions if it lead to a better overall experience and a healthier community.

21 Likes

What about Skyfury, the Fresh PvP server? None of your solutions solves the 3-hour queue problem when there is only one Fresh PvP Realm in the US.

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Well I don’t know if I’d say our that’s our “current stance”, holistically speaking. We have seen established guilds transfer, and hope to see more. I was merely saying, I can understand why you’d be hesitant to move, its a big decision with a lot of ripple effects.

If anything we are hoping that some of the less attached players are willing to move in some larger numbers to help alleviate the current and immediate concerns. It’s not a long term fix or strategy on which we can rely on its own.

We have considered it. Nothing to share just now though.

Trying to chase faction balance with transfers is even more difficult than trying to reduce server population, historically. If there’s any perception that someone will be an underdog, they generally won’t make the move. But, there’s definitely a possibility we will try it. I think if we really leaned into that, we’d want to try and pair it with some sort of incentive to move, which is something we are working on designs for, and talked with a few members of the community council about a few weeks ago in a zoom call. Unfortunately it’ll take a bit of time for that to get fully implemented though, should we decide to go that route.

So the fresh realms are a very unique situation and we want to be extremely careful about adding more realms. Adding a 2nd fresh PvP realm is very very likely to do one of two things:

  1. Lead to both realms being unhealthy in the long term.
  2. Essentially guarantee that one of the two realms becomes the “horde” server, and the other becomes the “alliance” server.

Additionally, Fresh realms are also much more likely to experience a bit of a decline once the game actually launches. Many people are leveling in fresh now during pre-patch but we expect some number of those players to return to their normal established servers and guilds once the expansion launches. This might be a situation where its better for us to weather the storm, as it were.

Lastly, the fresh realms’ total “footprint” of players isn’t nearly as large as a server like Faerlina or Benediction. These established older large realms will continue to swell as folks return who may be inactive unless moves occur, which is a different situation than Skyfury is in. While the queues on Skyfury are long, they aren’t as long as the other queuing mega-realms. If everyone in the queue for Benediction went to another realm, that realm would be queuing as well. That queue is more than double the capacity of the realm. If everyone in Skyfury’s queue went to another realm, it would be a fairly busy realm, but not nearly full. Skyfury and the 2nd realm may not survive that division long term.

Fast reactions to immediate problems are part of what got us here, and while our goal is to get everyone into the game as soon as we can, we also want to make sure Fresh realms are a long term success as well. We want to be extra sure that the only option is to open a new fresh realm before we do so.

41 Likes

It seems like realm mergers are being avoided as a possible solution long-term as much as they were during classic days. The issue regarding Skyfury seems like it could be solved by having a second realm, and if the population does drop to unsustainable levels, simply merging the realms. Is there a specific reason why this option does not seem discussed?

I ask this in tandem because the main concern I have seen is the risk involved that the new realm of receiving transfers will become underpopulated with time, and be left in a poor state, resulting in a poor experience; if those players considering it were able to believe that the realm would be merged should it get too sparse, it may also remove a barrier of entry to the concept of Transferring.

One of the main concerns I see from Couch-Server-Engineers seems to be that retail works with larger players on a server, so why not implement some of that technology; While I personally don’t think it viable, it may be useful to address that reasoning to help quell some of the negativity surrounding this situation.

Thanks again @Aggrend for maintaining an open dialogue on these server issues, and I hope that this kind of communication becomes a much more regular and reliable part of Blizzard’s policy going forward. This kind of communication may generate negativity to start, but it absolutely gains player trust over time, and the brunt points provided is a very welcome addition to the discussion.

Lastly, I do want to address some of the readers of this forum/reddit; I’ve seen a lot of people who simply state “Blizzard wants our money” or similar comments. I’ve known quite a few Blizzard employees over the years, and I have yet to find one that isn’t truly passionate about their games. Whether you believe that or not, it doesn’t change the state of the current issues, so the best we can do is to be constructive towards a solution as a community and as a team for the game we enjoy. As a community, lets focus on keeping this conversation positive, healthy, and pointed towards a solution, rather than the alternative.

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Server merges is definitely a rubicon we’d rather not cross, partially because its a fairly risky process, and partially because once we cross that line we can’t really un-cross it and modern-esque connected realms becomes the expectation. While we are choosing to try and chip away at mega realms and push towards dispersing the population, I’d say that there’s nothing really off the table as potential solutions. In addition to what we’ve already discussed, we are pursuing a lot of options and fallbacks for the future behind the scenes.

This is all sort of academic however. Where we are standing right this moment, there are no realms in service that need merges. Aside from a very very small handful of specific realms of the dozens and dozens we have worldwide, every realm has a very viable population.

This is not the case. The issue we have here is also an issue on certain modern realms such as Illidan and Tichondrius when new expansions are released. They have the same realm caps we have. This is purely a perception thing, we are using the same hardware, and backend infrastructure for both games.

Same! It’s part of the reason I’ve been here for 13 years. :slight_smile:

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I am fortunate enough to be able to tackle this problem by flipping my schedule on it’s head. Instead of playing from 8pm I start at 5am, this means I’m able to Quest instead of Dungeon spamming due to slow respawn rates.

  1. Why was it a wise decision to risk overflow by creating only two “fresh” servers for Pre-Patch Launch? Forgive me for my lack of understanding I always thought if you were going fishing it’s best to take a spare rod in case one breaks.

  2. What purpose do instance lockouts (when you’re unable to reset the instance) serve if the server is so full that you’re unable to tag the mobs for any quest?

The respawn timer either needs to become more aware of the number of players in the game and adapt accordingly, or I believe lockouts simply serve as a barrier to participation. It’s definitely a negative experience if you’ve ran all the way to Scarlet Monastery because you were unable to quest properly and then you’ve only got the opportunity to clear the dungeon a limited number of times, you’re being punished for playing well if you clear too quickly.

Feel free to reply everyone, I hope it’s relative enough to the original post!

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I couldn’t post until now but I have a lot to say here.

I’ll be blunt, honest and I will do my best to remain civil in what I’m about to say, because god only knows how much I want to be rude right now.

I am extremely disappointed and angry. The following:

Is blatantly FALSE. The technology and the hardware both exists in 2022. It is not impossible to have a scalable service within a triple A game that can accommodate far more than the current load of players trying to play the game. How do I know? Because I work in this very industry as a Software Engineer in Online Services. I will not let my profession be disgraced like that with these lies. I know the technology that we have today, the one we had a decade ago and I know exactly what the real problem here is…

Blizzard considers Classic as a side project, a cash cow, and does not provide the necessary amount of resources that the Classic project requires. 2 years of Classic, the issue of queues were there at release of Classic and TBC Classic both, it was obvious to everyone that the same issue would just repeat itself for WotLK, not because it’s an impossible issue to solve, but because of Blizzard’s constant refusal to spend the money to provide a reasonable service to their customers.

And don’t pretend like it’s not true either, we can tell, it’s written on the wall in big bold letters.
From automation of silences/suspensions/bans (Proven by streamers), to the complete lack of communication with the community (Over a week of silence on this topic alone!), to the non-existent customer service (Anyone who opened a ticket knows how bad it is), to the lack of updates on features like your new and updated LFD despite the mountain of feedback pointing out the flaws and the lack of QoL features like filtering, resizing, etc., to the last minute everything. Everything points towards this, a barebone team of developers trying their best to make one of the most popular online game of 2020-2022 work. Like trying to build an entire stadium with nothing more than a crew of a few people and a pack of gum.
And I’m not blaming you, or the devs working on classic specifically, I am blaming the company, Blizzard, its executives, its finance team, whoever is responsible for the complete lack of support for this massive game that is Classic.

I am beyond tired of pretending like Blizzard might care even slightly, that we might get something, ANYTHING, that could be more than the complete bare minimum for a service we pay 15USD a month, that asked of us to spend 25USD per character to fix the issue of our characters being stuck on completely dead realms rather than offer a sensible solution a year ago. When you offered bulk character transfer to retail but said “tough luck” to classic and told us it was single transfer only. How incredibly insulting!
How in the world can I, or anyone, not think Blizzard is purposely treating Classic as nothing more than a joke, than a money printing machine, that you have anywhere close to the amount of developers a project like this actually need.

Pray tell me, why have you not updated your game code to follow the basic standards of online services in the twenty twenties. Why in the past two years of Classic has Blizzard not spend the resources necessary to make this issue never happen on the release of the most anticipated rerelease of the decade.

Why are we playing Classic Reforged? (As in Warcraft 3 Reforged for those who missed the reference here)

I know, you can’t fix your code in such a short amount of time for WotLK release, it’s too late now, that much is obvious, I know how long it takes to make changes. Even if Blizzard magically had an epiphany and decided to provide infinite amount of resources to Classic development, you wouldn’t have the time now. But, for the love of all that is holy, we are tired of being treated like nothing more than walking wallets, second class citizens, by your company when all we ask for is for the service we pay for to receive the amount of support it deserves, the amount of support it NEEDS.

Sincerely,
A disillusioned customer who still remembers the quality service of 14 years ago… when WotLK first released.

663 Likes

I feel the need to clarify something since the reaction from the community about my post seem to misunderstand my position (A lot of people questioning my legitimacy as a Software Engineer) and I don’t want Aggrend or anyone on the Classic Dev team to misunderstand my position either.

In no way am I saying that it would have been cost efficient or not for them to have updated legacy code to function with modern online technology. The only ones capable of making a cost-benefit analysis on this are Blizzard devs themselves.
I don’t know what the Classic’s code looks like, I don’t know how hard it would be to update said code to support more modern online tech, I don’t know their hardware, I don’t know their finances, I don’t know anything of what they are doing behind closed curtains.
There isn’t anyone alive on this planet, no matter their credentials, that would know about that except for the ones who work on the game itself.
What I do know however is that the statement that the tech doesn’t exist is false. Regardless of what the cost would be, there is a solution, one that may or may not be worth investing into. WoW Classic has its own set of challenges to deal with, and that is the dev’s job to figure it out, but challenges doesn’t make something impossible. You can argue that on a cost basis it could be considered impossible, but now we would just be playing semantics.
And sure, perhaps I shouldn’t read it so literally, Aggrend most likely meant it as “there is no technology/hardware solution to this issue in the current context, timeframe and/or associated cost”, but this is exactly why I had a problem with that sentence.
Because it just feel like a cop out.

This is completely beside the point I was trying to make either way. The point is that this is just another issue on the long list of issues and the only commonality between those issues is that the amount of support provided to Classic is just too little.

182 Likes

Its not that the tech to solve the massive queues doesn’t exist. Of course it does. Its call connected realms. Its called cross-realm play. Its called phasing. Its called Shardding. Blizzard faced these same problems 10 years ago, and fixed them with the tech that’s still on retail today.

The fact is that the classic community has made it very clear that they reject this approach. They want old school realms. These queue problems come with the territory. You can’t realistically have one without the other.

To the people who are asking to “just add more capacity and more layers”, how does letting another 100,000 people into your server help with building a realm community? The entire point of having old school realms was to foster a sense of community by keeping the realm populations small enough that you recognized people and could build a reputation. Increase the population of your realm that much and in essence, you have the same thing as a retail realm.

We need to decide as a community if we want true old school realms and are willing to deal with the queues, or if we want to embrace modern load-handling things like connected-realms, phasing, shardding, etc and have low queue times.

THAT BEING SAID…

Blizzard is also not helping by being so stingy with free realm transfers. Greed is contributing to this problem. Blizzard could easily just open up free transfers to all players and let the community sort itself out for the next couple months.

Blizzard could easily offer a 1 year free transfer-back if you transfer off of a mega server. This would give players the confidence to transfer off, knowing that in 6 months they can go back when the population dies down, if they don’t like their new home.

Blizzard keeps saying “Trust us, transferring to a new server will be fine! You’ll have just as much fun there!” OK. Put your money where your mouth is and give us the free transfer-back. If we love it so much on our new server, we won’t use it anyway.

As far as I can tell, its simple greed and the desire to sell transfers that is preventing this from happening. Don’t think we haven’t noticed that every blue post dances around this part of the issue.

Its also just bad business sense. Right now blizzard has lighting in a bottle with the launch of Wrath Classic. This moment will never happen again. They have millions of players interested in coming back to WoW, and they are squandering it by delivery a terrible user experience. And for what? The hope that they might sell a few more server transfers?

Capitalize on this moment. Give players what they need to play, and you will hook way more into long term subs. See the sunk cost of server transfers sales as an investment in long term gains and good PR. A player who pays $15 a month and gets free transfers is more valuable than a player who quits in frustration.

Blizzard, you are losing control of the narrative again, and the community is turning on you. Make good, change the narrative back to a positive one and make the launch of WotLK a celebration not another moment of embarrassment.

90 Likes